Earlier today the German publication Der Spiegel reported that that country’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, likely had her cell phone tapped by the United States intelligence apparatus. Germany is a key ally of the United States, both economically and politically.
According to Spiegel, the Chancellor called United States President Barack Obama in protest over the revelation. The United States National Security Council told Spiegel that the country is not currently monitoring Merkel’s communications, and will not in the future. It did not comment on past actions.
That is only a denial of a sort. And, as we have seen previously, whenever the United States agencies tasked with national security and intelligence release a carefully worded statement, what they don’t say is usually more relevant than what they state plainly. It would have been simple for the National Security Council to definitively state it has never monitored the Chancellor’s communications. It chose to not do so.
The White House released a statement that mirrored the Security Council’s remarks: “The President assured the Chancellor that the United States is not monitoring, and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel.
But regarding everything up until this morning? Yeah, shh.
This is only yet another ding to the United States’s credibility in the European region. After it became known that the United States was recording French phone calls by the tens of millions monthly, that country wasn’t too pleased. The NSA has been caught poking around Germany before to boot. The list goes on.
The role of that National Security Agency – the governmental group at the very heart of the current espionage and surveillance dragnet and its ensuing scandal – is to collect and decode foreign intelligence. Recently, it became known that the United States also tapped the email address of now former Mexican President Felipe Calderon while he was office, and the communications of then candidate for the presidency of that country, Peña Nieto.
It’s hard to keep your allies close while you systematically spy on them, and then get caught.
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